Avengers Star: Superhero films offer shared, modern mythology

If this keeps up, I may be out of a gig.

I mean, really. Actors writing articulate, informed, passionate, and profound articles about why their projects matter?

What’s next? Chickens analyzing Chick-fil-A sandwiches?

Tom Hiddleston, who plays Loki in the upcoming and highly anticipated “Avengers” movie, explains why stories in general and superhero stories in particular have such an impact on our hearts and minds. He writes in England’s Guardian:

“Superhero films offer a shared, faithless, modern mythology, through which these truths can be explored. In our increasingly secular society, with so many disparate gods and different faiths, superhero films present a unique canvas upon which our shared hopes, dreams and apocalyptic nightmares can be projected and played out. Ancient societies had anthropomorphic gods: a huge pantheon expanding into centuries of dynastic drama; fathers and sons, martyred heroes, star-crossed lovers, the deaths of kings – stories that taught us of the danger of hubris and the primacy of humility. It’s the everyday stuff of every man’s life, and we love it. It sounds cliched, but superheroes can be lonely, vain, arrogant and proud. Often they overcome these human frailties for the greater good. The possibility of redemption is right around the corner, but we have to earn it.”

He makes fantastic points. As I wrote in my defense of Harry Potter and magic in stories:

Magic in popular culture creates common ground. As Mark I. Pinsky argues in his Wall Street Journal article, magic is a way of talking about good and evil without using religious terminology. We all know Voldemort is bad, whether we be Christian, Muslim, or without faith. He is murderous, power-hungry, relentless. In short, Satanic. Voldemort, Sauron of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, and even “The Little Mermaid’s” Sea Witch, give us a chance to discuss evil and good with our children, friends, family, and coworkers.

Common ground is a precious commodity these days and movies and TV are one of the few remaining platforms which we can all talk about on the same terms.

But, seriously, Tom? Stick with the acting. We wouldn’t want you to outdo the critics.

via Superheroes movies like Avengers Assemble should not be scorned | Film | The Guardian.

About Rebecca Cusey

Rebecca is a lead critic and editor of entertainment at Patheos. Follow her on Twitter @Rebecca_Cusey


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